Just after sunset, one early June evening, about 40 000 VIP guests arrived at the Hyatt Regency Calgary. These long-term guests are the new Thomsons restaurant and Catch & the Oyster Bar honeybees! The two hives are settling in nicely to their new home alongside the garden on the roof of the Hyatt and are enjoying the diverse forage that the garden, downtown parks and Bow River valley have to offer.
Beekeeping in the heart of a City, or even on a rooftop, is not a new thing; there have been rooftop hives in cities such as New York and Paris for years. However, there are still special considerations in urban cores, such as wind tunnel effects and exposure to sun, which require hives to be closely monitored to ensure that the bees are not struggling unnecessarily.
Exposure to sun is particularly important, as bees will not fly when it is dark, or if the weather is poor. If the bees are not flying, they are not collecting food for the hive and it struggles to remain healthy and grow throughout the season. To take full advantage of Calgary’s sunny weather and long summer days, the bees need to know that the sun is up. Therefore, the entrance of the hive is best placed facing to the east or southeast. This ensures that the sun hits the hive as early as possible, and spurs the bees into action.
The communal rooftop seems to have the perfect set up of protection from strong winds, access to flowering plants and good sun exposure. If the rest of the summer goes well, this should mean a great fall harvest!